Virulence of plant pathogenic bacteria attenuated by degradation of fatty acid cell-to-cell signaling factors
Diffusible signal factor (DSF) is a fatty acid signal molecule involved in regulation of virulence in several Xanthomonas species as well as Xylella fastidiosa. In this study, we identified a variety of bacteria that could disrupt DSF-mediated induction of virulence factors in Xanthomonas campestris pv. campestris. While many bacteria had the ability to degrade DSF, several bacterial strains belonging to genera Bacillus, Paenibacillus, Microbactetium, Staphylococcus, and Pseudomonas were identified that were capable of particularly rapid degradation of DSF. The molecular determinants for rapid degradation of DSF in Pseudomonas spp. strain G were elucidated. Random transposon mutants of strain G lacking the ability to degrade DSF were isolated. Cloning and characterization of disrupted genes in these strains revealed that carAB, required for the synthesis of carbamoylphosphate, a precursor for pyrimidine and arginine biosynthesis is required for rapid degradation of DSF in strain G. Complementation of carAB mutants restored both pyrimidine prototrophy and DSF degradation ability of the strain G mutant. An Escherichia coli strain harboring carAB of Pseudomonas spp. strain G degrades DSF more rapidly than the parental strain, and overexpression of carAB in trans increased the ability of Pseudomonas spp. strain G to degrade as compared with the parental strain. Coinoculation of X. campestris pv. campestris with DSF-degrading bacteria into mustard and cabbage leaves reduced disease severity up to twofold compared with plants inoculated only with the pathogen. Likewise, disease incidence and severity in grape stems coinoculated with Xylella fastidiosa and DSF-degrading strains were significantly reduced compared with plants inoculated with the pathogen alone. Coinoculation of grape plants with a carAB mutant of Pseudomonas spp. strain G complemented with carAB in trans reduced disease severity as well or better than the parental strain. These results indicate that overexpression of carAB in other endophytes could be a useful strategy of biocontrol for the control of diseases caused by plant pathogens that produce DSF.